In this series of pictures, John had seen that the devilís real enemy was not the woman, but her child. That child will soon rule all nations, and so defeat the devilís power. However, John also saw that the devilís anger against the woman continued. When the devil could no longer attack the child, he tried to kill the woman instead (verse 15).
In our opinion, the woman means Israel (see our notes on verses 1-2) and the child means Christ (see verse 5). During his life, John saw that Israelís troubles did not end with the birth of Christ. Instead, the devil continued to attack Israel fiercely. 40 years after Christís death, an army from Rome destroyed Jerusalem in the cruellest manner possible.
As the woman in the pictures had to escape into the desert, so Israelís people escaped into foreign countries. However, that was not the end of Israel. Although Israelís people have suffered much, God has looked after them. Now, after almost 2000 years, they are at last returning to their own country.
In the pictures, the woman remained in the desert for 1260 days. That period has, perhaps, both a general and a particular meaning. The general meaning may be the events that we have just described. Israelís people lived away from their land for a definite period. Now, at the end of that period, they are free to return.
The particular meaning may refer to events immediately before Christís return. 1260 days is the same length of time as the 42 months in Revelation 11:2. During those 42 months, foreign armies will act with great cruelty in Jerusalem. These two passages may refer to the same period of time, or they may follow each other. During these great troubles, God will provide for Israel in a wonderful way, even as he provided for Elijah (compare 1 Kings 17:1-6 and James 5:17).
Next part: Michael and his angels (Revelation 12:7)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.